Halloween Is Here
Halloween, as we know it today, is a truly an American phenomenon. The holiday did originaly originate in Ireland. The Celtic people of
Ireland celebrated the festival of Samhain on October 31. Samhain, meaning end of summer," was a time to harvest crops and bring herds down from
mountainous pastures. Samhain was believed to be a magical time.
The Celtics believed that times of transition, like the interval between night and day, were
instances when the boundaries between our world and the spirit world were the
thinnest. Since Samhain was the transition between summer and winter, the Celtic
people felt that Samhain was a time to honor the dead and try to communicate
with beloved ones that died, much like Mexicos Dias De Los Muertos, or Day
of the Dead." Because Samhain was thought to be a time where the dead
roamed the earth, huge bonfires were set atop cliffs to scare away unwanted or
evil spirits. However, there is absolutely no evidence that cats or any animals
were thrown into these fires as sacrificial offerings. Cats were not even
indigenous to Ireland at that time. The only animals that were killed around the
time of Samhain were animals deemed unfit for breeding throughout the winter.
Contrary to popular belief, Samhain is not a Lord of the Dead." There is
no deity, demon, or spirit named Samhain. Samhain is simply the name of the
festival that celebrates summers end. The Celtics had no demons or devils in
their religion. The Celtics did, however, believe that fairies existed. These
fairies were considered hostile, short tempered, and dangerous. They supposedly
longed for the chance to punish mankind for invading their land.
Samhain was very much a harvest celebration and many Celtics believed that any
food left on vines, trees, or in the ground after Samhain, was tainted by the
fairies and hence, inedible. Samhain was also a celebration of the New Year to
the Celtics. Due to the thought that the Fairies and the dead wandered the earth
on Samhain, many households put out food for their deceased family members or
the fairies to ensure good fortune for the new year. Vagrants usually ate this
food, leaving the inhabitants of the house to falsely believe they had been
visited by fairies or their beloved dead. Later, the problem of vagrants and
pranksters eating the gifts left for the dead or the fairies worsened to the
point that villagers started wearing horrific masks to scare away the unwanted.
The costumed individuals who scared away the scavengers often carried lanterns
composed of a candle inside a hallowed turnip.
During the period when the Catholic Church coerced the Celtics
into Christianity, much changed with Samhain. Samhain and other Celtic
festivities were combined into All Saints Day, that honored all the Catholic
Saints and took place on November 1. The Church did not want to upset the
Celtics and cause them to denounce Christianity, but still wanted to end their
Pagan celebrations. So, the Church endorsed All Saints Day, but also heavily
encouraged prayer and religious festivities the night before. Due to this prayer
and celebration on the night before All Saints Day the traditions of Samhain
were peacefully restrained, which was the Churchs goal. Over time All Saints
Day became known as All Hallows Day and the night before, previously known as
Samhain, was now named All Hallows Eve. Eventually, the Catholic Church
abandoned its disapproval of the traditions of Samhain, and even supported All
Hallows Eve by including it on all calendars. This increased the number of
people who celebrated All Hallows Eve greatly and soon the holiday became
commonly referred to as Halloween.
In the 1800s when Ireland suffered many potato famines, over 700,000 Irish
Catholics came to America and brought with them the many traditions of
Halloween. These traditions soon changed to accommodate their new land. The
turnips that were used for lanterns soon became pumpkins and evolved into what
we now know as a Jack-O-Lantern." The wearing of terrifying masks to
scare away food scavengers or pranksters, and the custom of leaving food for
visitors eventually became Trick or Treating." In this time of change,
the American Irish were also influenced by Native American stories of ghosts and
American Colonial stories of witchcraft. These elements contributed greatly to
the evolution of Halloween being a truly American observance. Halloween gained a
lot of popularity during the 1920s, when American cities began sponsoring
costumed parties and parades. In the 1930s, radio programs united all the
different Halloween traditions across America into one distinct holiday.
Until the end of World War II, Halloween had mostly been an
occasion for adults to party and for teens to play pranks, such as soaping
windows and tipping over trash cans. After World War II ended, the population
exploded and the Baby-Boom parents saw Halloween as a unique, fun holiday
to include their children in. Childrens programming with Halloween themes,
like the classic Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!, became wildly
popular and influenced a generation with fond Halloween memories. Unfortunately,
in the 1970s, Halloween had started to acquire a dubious reputation. A child
was reportedly killed after eating Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. It was
later revealed that his father had poisoned the candy to collect on the
childs insurance policy. Other urban legends arose about needles and
razor blades being inserted into apples and candy.
In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Halloween had decreased in
popularity and the only passionate participators in the holiday seemed to be
teenagers who dressed as the villains featured in the mad slasher films
that were so popular at the time with young audiences. Then came the 1990s.
Now the Baby-Boom children, in which the holiday had played an important
part in their lives, have truly embraced Halloween. They have become parents
themselves and lavishly celebrate the holiday with family and friends making
Halloween one of the most popular holidays in America, second only to Christmas.
IT IS THE NIGHT OF HALLOWEEN
The Crypt Keeper wishes you a Happy Halloween! It sure feels like Halloween Night
We know you enjoy the eeriness, and the lure of the candy. Perhaps the possibility of playing and the pranks.
IT IS THE NIGHT OF HALLOWEEN POEM
Did you hear the screming
It is the night of Halloween
And you have come to visit this place.
You have come for treats
But you'll find tricks
As you walk around the corner
The night gets darker
As the fools full moon becomes hazy
And the wind begins to spin
Your feelings are not quite clear
It's the night of Halloween
You get the feeling there were others
But you still feel alone
Trying to be aware and still
As your quiet nightmare has begun
You really want to run
But you know you must go slowly
So you make no mistake
Now you could knock on the door
But you hear the door creek open
As the ones begin to scream
Things go whirling
Like your caught within a dream
Then the dead start rising
And you must go through the door
Oh no what awaits you
Must be horror to its core
It Is The Night Of Halloween Poem
, copyright ©Susan J. Flory
Get Ready To Screem
Someone got to loud and woke up the mummies. It started. The buried dead have been released from there pit graves. The mummies are comming. Run!
You know we are an eternal entity. There is more below. And the voices told us you were coming. Ha, ha. "Life is too important to be taken seriously." ~ Oscar Wilde 1856.
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